When Brittany Ernsperger posted a photo of her pile of clean dishes to Facebook in order to showcase what "depression looks like," she did so with a disclaimer: "No. Not the clean dishes. But that there were that many dishes in the first place; that I've gone two weeks without doing them."
The young mom continued, admitting that she sat on the kitchen floor in front of the same pile of dishes before they'd been cleaned and cried, because despite knowing they needed to be done, her depression was causing her to feel like a failure for letting that many pots and pans pile up in the first place. Her honest admission and relatable takeaways about feeling overwhelmed over everyday tasks has caused the powerful post to go viral, and Brittany is getting so much love from others, whether they can personally relate to her or not.
"Depression is something that 'strong' people don't talk about because they don't want people to think they're 'weak.'"
In the vulnerable post, Brittany admitted that she felt defeated with each passing day the dishes were left in the sink, which made her depression and anxiety that much worse. "Worthless. Failure. Piece of sh*t. Incompetent. Stupid. Lazy," she wrote. "All things that roll through the mind of someone with depression. All. Day. Long. Throw anxiety on top of it, and you've got yourself a real treat. Being scared your husband will leave because he thinks you're lazy. Being scared to let people into your home because they'll think you're nasty. Feeling like you're failing your kids because for the third night in a row you don't have any clean dishes to cook dinner on . . . so pizza it is. Again."
The mom explained that though she was using her dirty dishes to describe her struggles with depression, this vicious cycle of beating herself up isn't limited to kitchen chores. "The laundry, cleaning, dressing yourself, taking a shower, dressing your kids, brushing your and their teeth, normal everyday tasks. It all becomes a nightmare. A very daunting task. Some days it doesn't get done at all."
But despite the back-and-forth struggle she goes through in her own head courtesy of her depression and anxiety, Brittany knows deep down that she's not the failure her mental illness would have her believe she is — no, she's strong. And so is everyone else who struggles with mental illness.
Depression is something that "strong" people don't talk about because they don't want people to think they're "weak." You're not weak. You've been strong for so long and through so many things, that your body needs a break. I don't even care if the only thing you did today was put deodorant on. I'm proud of you for it. Good job. I'm in your corner. I'm on your side.
I'm not looking for sympathy, not in the slightest. But I am letting everyone know that I'm here for you. I get it. If you need someone to talk to, I'm always here to help.
Brittany's vulnerability and openness, not to mention her offer to help anyone who needs it, has earned the post hundreds of thousands of shares and nearly 1,000 comments in two short weeks. Brittany says she can't believe how much love the post has gotten, and has offered anyone who's commented or shared her post to reach out to her if they're having trouble managing their own struggles. Not to mention, she's helping to chip away at the general stigmas of mental illnesses simply by discussing her own.
"I'll do my best to help you or get you the help you need. We'll figure it out together. We can only help one another by lifting each other up. I'm here for you."